It’s a sad fact but cooking-related fires are the #1 cause of house fires in the U.S. today. With so many El Pasoans spending more time in the kitchen this holiday season, we thought it would be wise to place attention on preventable measures. It doesn’t take much for a fire to erupt, which is why it’s especially significant that you share these tips with your family. This way, everyone can have a great time whipping up those classic holiday recipes!
Avoid Cooking When You’re Tired
When you’re surviving off four hours of sleep it can feel like the rest of the world is spinning and you’re simply trying to keep your balance. It may seem inevitable that you fit in more hours of sleep but if you plan on spending a good portion of time in the kitchen, make sure you’re not too tired to do so. Even if you’re used to getting minimal sleep, the added stress could make you more inclined to make a mistake, which may include leaving the oven or stove unattended or forgetting to turn it off. If your oven does catch on fire, here’s what you should do:
- Close the oven door.
- Turn off the oven.
- Call 911.
- If the fire doesn’t go out, leave your home immediately.
- If the fire does go out, open your windows.
- Once the fire has subsided, you may open the oven door and carefully remove the hot pan using oven mitts.
- Leave the oven door open and allow for all of the smoke to clear.
The reason for leaving the oven door closed? It seems counterintuitive but opening the oven door will cause the fire to spread. A fire, however, can’t survive without oxygen.
Pay Close Attention to Ingredients That May Result in Flames
Cooking without oil is unavoidable in many cases, but since it’s one of the leading causes of cooking-related fires, it’s important to be mindful of what you fry and how you’re frying it. Also be sure to wipe down any spills of cooking oil, as leftover grease can easily make a flame worse. If you happen to ignite a flame, throw baking soda on it, not water! Water will intensify grease fires. Here are a couple of ways in which grease can cause a fire:
- Unattended frying pans
- Grease splatters on a hot oven
- An unattended pot overheats
In the event that a fire does erupt, use a lid to cover the flame. If you don’t have one nearby, throw baking soda on it.
One Final Tip: Keep Decorations Away
Decorations can really bring a kitchen to life, but when you incorporate those that are candle or flame-based, you want to make sure they’re nowhere near the oven or stove. Roughly 20% of cooking fires that take place in November and December are a result of holiday decorations. In addition to keeping your holiday decorations away from your appliances, make sure to avoid leaving hand towels and other non-holiday kitchen materials around your oven and stove.
Slow Down and Enjoy the Moment!
Amidst the holiday shopping, company parties, the family from out of town arriving, be sure to take some time to truly be in the moment! The holidays can be quite magical when you look around. Enjoy the company of your loved ones, thank them for all they do, and yes, cook those family recipes for everyone to enjoy.
From all of us here at Lariat Builders, we’d like to wish you a Happy Holidays and a safe and prosperous New Year! Thank you for your continued support in 2018, we look forward to serving you in 2019.